Earth Day at 50: Earth Day Is Every Day
Shyanne Eustace, WI Green Fire, May 4, 2020
She is my teacher, provider, doctor, and so much more. She is Mother Earth. Growing up on the reservation of Cochiti Pueblo in New Mexico, I was taught the importance of taking only what I need from the Earth and to share her gifts with my people. Most importantly, I was always taught how to take care of our Mother. From a young age, I was shown that Earth Day is every day.
As humans, we are the most dependent beings on Earth. As time has gone on, the lockdown mandated for the current pandemic has shown us that the Earth would be fine without humans. As we fight over rolls of tissue and illogically discriminate against certain race groups, Earth is thriving. The animals are readapting, waters are becoming clear again and the air is the cleanest it’s been in over ten years!
This pandemic is nothing new to my people. We had been threatened by unknown diseases many times before. Today, indigenous people make up less than 5% of the U.S population. However, we still stand on the front lines for all environmental crises: from stopping illegal pipelines to peaceful protests – we are there. Every day we are searching for resources to clean our waters from toxins, restore forests, and save animals from extinction. We are constantly working to protect the environment.
I ask you to please reflect on your actions and how it will affect the next Seven Generations.
I also encourage you to learn more about indigenous people and how you can support them. Due to the COVID-19, most tribes are limited in resources such as food, water, electricity, and medical supplies. If the virus enters into a tribal community, it could easily erase that community.
I thank you for taking the time to learn about my values. I can’t speak on behalf of all indigenous people but I hope this provides some insight on an indigenous view.
Shyanne Eustace is studying natural resources at Northland College in Ashland, WI, and is very interested in assessing the needs and interests of indigenous people and working to make their voice and knowledge a part of environmental decision-making. Shyanne is a member of the Cochiti Pueblo Nation in New Mexico. She is also a student member of Wisconsin’s Green Fire.